JCPS appears to be asking voters to show their tolerance for another tax increase that’s 3.7 cents above the 4% annual increase allowable by law. This means, that we could see another tax referendum on this November’s ballot.
We support fully funded schools. What we don’t support is giving district leaders a blank check!
I’m all for fully funded @JCPSKY schools but I’m not for blank checks for leaders to spend however they want, nor lack of transparency and accountability after it’s spent. The BOE meets Tuesday to vote on another >4% tax increase, making it likely to wind up on November’s ballot. pic.twitter.com/qR5PoLOBGV— Dear JCPS (@Dear_JCPS) June 16, 2023
Anti-public education groups that oppose another tax increase (similar to the one they passed in 2020) will no doubt launch another campaign to stop it. THAT’S NOT OUR MESSAGE! But since a law passed in 2021 that significantly lowers the number of signatures required on a petition to recall a tax referendum, we have to assume that if the JCPS Board of Education passes Superintendent Pollio’s recommendation Tuesday night, it’s a foregone conclusion the measure will be on the November ballot.
Instead of letting misguided “Moms for Liberty” extremists control the narrative, collect voters’ contact information and fuel their easily misled base with false, hateful and divisive rhetoric, Dear JCPS believes that a pro-public education PLEDGE is our strongest move. Our EARN the People’s Vote campaign demands district leaders bring forward a proposal for that aligns with needs and expectations of our community. We attempted to do this when they passed 2020’s tax increase, but we were derailed by district leaders and supposed allies, who sabotaged our grassroots groups’ efforts, saying we agreed to an “unconditional tax increase.” Who does that? Not us. Not the teachers we talked to. Not the parents and guardians of the students we talked to. Not members of the Black-led and Black allied organizations like the KAARPR, BLM and NAACP. Not the business community. Not the West and South Louisville taxpayers and homeowners who can barely scrape together enough money to pay for the last increase.
Listen to this speaker to the JCPS School Board at the Tax Rate Hearing in 2019. That was BEFORE the pandemic, the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and the movement for Black lives, and an insurrection. Trust us, things are monumentally worse for a large segment of our population, putting something like “speaking at a JCPS Board meeting” out of reach and off their radars, even if they had received adequate notice, which they didn’t. At the time of this posting, only one news outlet had published information about the public hearing, and NONE of them mentioned the amount was greater than 4%, making it subject to a recall vote. Are our media outlets really that clueless that they can’t recognized the newsworthiness of this aspect prior to the board vote? Or are they complicit in the JCPS Board’s known efforts to keep it under the radar? Either way, this is bad for public policy, bad for precedent, bad for transparency, bad for taxpayers, bad for JCPS employees and bad for students and their families.
Should the issue wind up on the November ballot, this will afford the JCPS community additional opportunity to have necessary but difficult conversations about how additional revenues will be used to meet the needs of our district’s most vulnerable students and families and EARN the People’s Vote. This strategy will not only increase community buy-in as solutions are developed, but it will increase the likelihood that new tax revenues will be spent in the best ways possible.
Whether or not you favor the tax increase (or still haven’t decided), please sign our pledge to stand with grassroots JCPS organizations as we continue to advocate for systemic change in the district on behalf of our most vulnerable populations, and to make sure taxpayer dollars are maximized in the best ways possible.
A lot can happen between now and November. Let’s see where this conversation takes us.